I think it’s safe to say that for most of us, the salt we have in our kitchen is considered a seasoning, something we put in our soups, salads, and other food we cook and bake. Yes, it’s true: salt helps bring out the flavors in food. But there are actually tons of ways that salt can be used around the house. Seasoning your meals is really just one way, albeit the most popular.
Like many other hack articles you find on the web, it’s fun to see all how a regular household item or kitchen staple can be used. Salt has been around before kitchens were even a thing. And now, we can see how salt is used outside of the kitchen. Like, did you know that you can use salt to clean your coffee maker? You can also use it to exfoliate your scalp! And there’s more where that came from…
Check the Freshness of Your Eggs
According to Food Microbiology, salt is a potent antibacterial and antiseptic. Salt can be used in incredible ways on things like food, clothes, and kitchen appliances. You can start your salt hack journey by using it to check the freshness of those eggs that have been sitting on your fridge shelf for an unknown amount of time.
Salt raises water’s density enough to make bad eggs float. When eggs rot, they release gas pockets into their shells, and it makes them less dense than saltwater. If they’re fresh, eggs should sink in saltwater.
So what you need to do is dissolve two tablespoons of salt into two cups of water. Drop the egg into the solution. If it sinks, it’s safe to eat. If it floats, go to the supermarket and buy yourself a fresh carton of eggs.
Keep Drinks Cold With Salted Ice
Salt does some pretty interesting things. For instance, it causes the freezing point of water to dip below 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. That means that ice is going to melt if you put salt on it (which is why people put salt on their driveways and sidewalks in the winter). But melted liquid ice is still colder than regular hard ice.
Anyways, all you need to know is that ice can keep your drinks cold. If you want to chill your beer or spirits quickly, just fill a cooler with water, ice cubes, and some salt. Then place your bottles in the liquid, and you’ll see how well it works. Now you can enjoy your next BBQ without having to go back and forth to the freezer to see if the beers are cold enough to drink.
Keep Lettuce Crisp and Crunchy
Anyone here like soggy lettuce? Anyone? Nope? I thought so. Well, lettuce can get soggy pretty quickly if you leave it in the fridge for too long. And since lettuce is much more appealing when it’s crisp, you can use salt to keep it as crispy and crunchy as possible. To keep your salad crisp, just sprinkle some salt on those greens.
The salt will draw out the excess moisture of the lettuce through something called osmosis (if you’re curious). The salt will also give your greens some extra flavor, so there’s that, too. Just don’t over-salt your lettuce as too much salt can have the opposite effect. Too much salt with extract too much water from the leaves, and what you’re left with is wilted lettuce. Like I always say: it’s all about balance.
Deodorize Plastic Containers
Plastic containers are definitely useful and handy. The only problem is that plastic containers hold liquids, and those liquids can smell, and the plastic tends to hang on to odors for a long time. Tupperware and water bottles may be washed many times, but you can still smell that curry you ate last week.
To remove the smell, sprinkle some salt into the container and cover it with a lid. Once it’s closed, you can leave it overnight. But you need to remember to wash out the salt in the morning! Salt naturally absorbs odor, which is why it’s the main ingredient in several cleaning products. If you want a fresh smell, try squirting some lemon juice in your salt. But do that at the end – not overnight.
Clean an Iron
Irons can get dirty because if you iron over a stain on your clothes, the substance from that stain can end up burned onto your iron. And then that stain on your iron can transfer onto whatever it is you’re going to iron next. So it’s best to keep your iron clean. And whaddayaknow? You can clean the iron stains off with salt.
And don’t worry about the salt melting on a hot iron because salt actually has a melting point of 1,473°F! Sprinkle a sheet of baking paper with salt and rub the warm iron over it. Continue to run the iron over the salt a few more times. Then, turn off the iron, let it cool, and wipe it down with a damp cloth.
Take the Itch Out Of Bug Bites
Salt is an antimicrobial that kills bacteria. And if you didn’t know, the itching that you experience when you get a mosquito bite comes from certain bacteria inside the mosquito’s saliva. Yeah, it’s pretty gross. So if you rub salt on the bug bite, it will kill some of that saliva bacteria that are making you itchy.
So how exactly are you supposed to accomplish this? Start by mixing some salt with a tiny amount of water — you want just enough to create a paste. Then, rub the paste onto your or your child’s itchy red bug bite. You can also do the same trick by wetting the bug bite and rubbing dry salt over it, which is essentially the same thing.
Scrub Lipstick Stains Off Glasses
Lipstick stains on collars aren’t the only places that people want to remove lipstick from. Glassware is another commonplace to find pesky lipstick marks. There are lipstick brands that are more transfer-proof than others, but if you’re someone who wears lipstick (or you live with a lipstick wearer), then you know this struggle is real.
Lipstick can be challenging to get off of glassware. I mean, the stuff was designed to stick to surfaces, right? So if it’s hard to get off, then maybe that’s a good brand of lipstick! Anyways, if a regular run through your dishwasher doesn’t do the job well enough, try rubbing the stain with salt before you put it in the next round in the dishwasher.
Scrub Grease Off of Pots and Pans
Greasy and dirty pots and pans – it’s enough to make us want to stop cooking altogether! But we can’t really do that, can we? We need to find another solution, which is to clean them properly and efficiently.
Salt serves as both a scouring agent and a catalyst for specific chemical reactions. When you take salt and combine it with dish soap, the solution can be a powerhouse when it comes to cleaning grease right off of your pots and pans.
What you do is sprinkle some salt onto your pan and scrub it with a soapy sponge. The more salt you’re going to use, the more powerful your cleaning will be. When it comes to cleaning a cast-iron skillet, use the same trick just skip the soap.
Clean Out Your Coffee Maker
Coffee makers are some of the dirtiest objects in our households, according to the National Sanitation Foundation. And when you think about it, it sounds about right. We use these things every single day, multiple times a day. And who washes them every day? No one. So that’s the problem. They aren’t cleaned out often enough, and they stay warm and moist for long periods, which attracts bacteria.
So what you can do is run some saltwater through your coffee maker to clean it out within minutes. Fill the coffee pot up with water and add 4 tablespoons of salt. Then run the machine as usual. The salt will end up killing a lot of the bacteria in your coffee maker, and thus, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Just do this every week or so.
Make Coffee Taste Less Bitter
Random fact about coffee: It’s the world’s second-largest traded commodity (the first is crude oil). Coffee is consumed in massive quantities, making it the most loved beverage after water. It’s actually worth over $100 billion worldwide.
That said, smooth coffee often costs more than your average household kind, but you can help neutralize any bitter flavors you taste in coffee by adding a 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the grounds BEFORE you brew a cup.
The salt lowers the acidity in your coffee and makes it taste a lot sweeter, believe it or not. You can use the same trick on a cup of hot chocolate or even some bitter tea. And if you want to stay on the coffee train, you can also clean coffee stains off your mug using saltwater.
Save Your Sponges
Do you know what’s even dirtier than your coffee machine? Your sponges. Yuck. If your kitchen sponge gets dirty and gross, you don’t necessarily have to throw it away just yet. Use salt to make it last longer first. Fill a bowl with salt water (about 1/4 cup of salt to 2 cups of cold water). Put the sponge in and let it soak there overnight. By morning, you’ll be able to remove most of the gunk.
The salt will slowly replace all the space in the sponge, and what that does is push the dirt out. This trick doesn’t always work with artificial sponges if they have large holes. If that’s the case, then just run your sponge through the dishwasher instead.
Exfoliate Your Scalp
Have you ever heard of or tried Epsom salt treatments? Trust me; they’re worth it. They work because of the salts, which are a natural exfoliator. And if you have dandruff, like many of us do in the winter, then you need an exfoliator for your scalp. Rub some Epsom salts through your hair and on your scalp to get rid of the dead skin.
Before shampooing, massage the salt beads into your dry or slightly damp hair. Rub for two to three minutes to thoroughly rub off the dead skin. Once you’re finished, you can shampoo your hair and rinse as normal. Depending on the severity of your dandruff, you can redo this treatment once or twice per week.
Keep Cheese Fresher for Longer
As weird as it may sound, salt is the ideal preservative for dairy. Salt soaks up the excess moisture and prevents any mold from forming on the cheese. To make your cheese last long, soak a napkin in saltwater and cover the cheese with it. You can also keep your milk fresh by adding a pinch of salt to it. The amount of salt is so tiny that you won’t even taste it. But this trick will keep the carton fresh for about a week after its expiration date.
Random cheese fact: did you know that cheese was created more than 4,000 years ago by accident? Legend has it that the first cheese ever made was created accidentally by storing milk in a container lined in an animal’s stomach! An enzyme from the animal’s stomach made the milk separate into liquid (whey) and solids (curd). Curds, by the way, are cheese.
Keep Fruit From Turning Brown
You know how when you cut an apple, it goes brown within minutes? That’s because when fruit slices come into contact with oxygen, they turn brown. You could preserve fruit’s fresh color by putting it in water, but that process alone opens your food up to bacteria. But if salt is in the water, the antibacterial properties make it difficult for organisms to survive.
If you want to prolong the life of your pretty little apple slices or other cut fruit, place them in a large bowl and submerge them in salt water and let them soak. You might see the salt depositing into your fruit, which means that it’s re-saturated. Then you can remove the fruit after five to ten minutes. And then, of course, you can eat it!
Remove Red Wine Stains
It seems like just about every hack list you see has something about removing wine stains, right? Not only is wine such a common household beverage, but people seem to be spilling their wine glasses left, right, and center! Anyways, the salt absorbs water quickly, which makes it great for soaking up stains on the spot.
If you spill red wine on your carpet, dump salt onto the stain as soon as you can and wait for 10 to 15 minutes. Then you need to vacuum it up. If you have red wine on clothing, sprinkle salt onto the spot and wait at least 3 minutes. Then, rinse with cold water. If the stain isn’t gone, repeat the process until the red disappears, then do a load of laundry as usual.
Get Yellow Stains Out of Towels
If you’re someone who loves white towels (maybe you like feeling like you’re in a hotel?), then you know that after months of use, white towels and other white linens can appear blotchy or even yellowed. The thing is, the regular detergent doesn’t restore the color as much. Salt can brighten fabrics, but this should only be used for single-colored linens like towels.
Combine 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of salt, and 1/2 gallon of water. Boil the towels in the liquid for one hour. Repeat until the linens look brighter. You can also pour a 1/4 cup of salt into one gallon of hot water and let the towels sit in there for 2 days. Rinse them thoroughly and dry as usual.
Make Your Shoes Smell Fresh
Shoes are another common item that we always find hacks for. It’s because, after long periods of wearing them, our shoes tend to smell pretty bad. The odor comes from the bacteria that develop through the moistness of heat and sweat. Salt dries the moisture and also wipes out most of the bacteria. So you have a double whammy here. If you pour salt into your shoes, your gym bag smell will be okay again.
To get rid of bad smells, add 2 teaspoons of salt into each of your shoes. Leave it in there for at least 2 hours. To make it easier, you can leave the salt in there overnight. You can also just rub your feet with vinegar and salt to remove any odor.
Keep Flowers Clean and in Place
Artificial flowers are perfect for those who just can’t handle the responsibility of keeping real plants and flowers alive. A good bunch will look realistic enough and save you a lot of money in the long run as real flowers are expensive. But the trick is keeping them from falling. So you can set them in place with this clever hack.
Fill a vase with salt then add cold water. Arrange the flowers, and the salt will soon solidify, keeping them in place. If you have natural flowers, use larger Epsom salts to keep the flowers anchored in their places.
Salt can also be used to keep artificial flowers clean and dust-free. Place them in a paper bag with table salt and gently shake. It will remove traces of dirt, and they’ll look clean again.
If you’re not a candle person, you can just scroll on to the next hack. But if you are indeed someone who appreciates the ambiance of candles in your home, then this hack will be a good one. Some candle lovers love the look of dripping wax. But some don’t want the hassle of cleaning wax off their plates or furniture. And with salt, you can prevent the drip altogether.
You just need to soak your candles in salt water before you use them. Start by boiling 2 cups of water and add 1/2 tablespoon of salt. For larger candles, you can double this recipe. Once the salt finishes dissolving, you’ll know that the water is completely saturated. Turn off the heat. Add the candles and leave them for at least 2 hours. And don’t forget to dry them before lighting the wick.
Clean Out Your Drains
Salt can react to other household items to make powerful cleaning solutions. Vinegar is a common household item that works well with salt. A combination of the two can create a mixture with enough strength to blast dirt out of drains. Remember in science class when you mixed baking soda and vinegar together? Well, that’s what we’re talking about here. But this time, there’s less erupting and more cleaning.
Have a dirty drain that needs some decluttering? Stir a cup of salt into a cup of vinegar until the solution looks even and smooth. Pour the solution into the drain and let it sit in there for 15 to 30 minutes. Then, boil 2 cups of water and send it down the drain, too. And voila!
Keep Flames at Bay
Considering how salt has such a high melting point, large amounts of it can actually put out fires. This one is more for people with fireplaces (or maybe if you want to put out a bonfire). You can extinguish the flames by dumping salt on them. The fire will go out pretty quickly, and cleaning up will be a lot easier.
Now, if you ever encounter a grease fire in the kitchen, pour salt on it instead of water. For anyone who has ever put a hot greasy pan under the tap, it only makes things worse. Pouring water only spreads the oil further, and if there are flames, it will spread the fire. Use salt or baking soda to lower flames on a grill or a frying pan.
Freshen Your Breath
Fresh breath is just one of those things that pretty much any person wants to have. Who opts for unfresh breath? You can buy a mouthwash, or you can use salt. It’s your call. Gargling lukewarm saltwater has some benefits. For one, it kills all the bacteria in your mouth, which is mostly in the back of your throat. If you gargle saltwater at the back of your tongue, the salt will break down all those oils in your mouth.
Your breath will definitely smell fresher after that. Saltwater also relieves the pain that comes with a sore throat or a canker sore. And cankers are the worst! So, dissolve 2 teaspoons of salt into 1/4 cup of water and swirl that around your mouth for at least 20 seconds. The salt will kill the germs in your mouth, and you’ll feel less pain.
A Natural Pesticide
Many people are starting to turn to natural alternatives for things like bug spray and pesticide. If you don’t want the harsh chemicals that are in many bug sprays, there are alternatives. You can get rid of pests with a natural method, using salt. Salt will deter many of the insects that come into your home, namely ants.
Sprinkle salt across the bottom of your door and window frames to prevent those pesky ants from entering the house. Salt won’t necessarily kill them, but it will repel many insects. Vinegar is also a natural ant repellent, but it has a strong smell. If you don’t mind it, you can mix salt and vinegar to make the ultimate anti-ant armor. You might need to reapply this mixture, though, since it wears off over time.
Cook Your Eggs with Salt
Whether you’re in the mood for hard-boiled eggs or poached eggs, be sure to add some salt to the mix. In general, you should add salt to the water when you boil your eggs. Not only does it raise the temperature a lot faster, but the salty water will also lift up the shell, and this makes the eggs much easier to peel.
There is also some evidence that salt prevents the eggs from cracking because the salt allows the egg to settle first. This helps a lot when poaching eggs. When you poach them, add salt to the water to keep the egg whites together. This way, your dish will cook evenly, and you can enjoy your eggs the way you deserve to!
Keep Potatoes Crunchy
For the potato lovers out there, this one’s for you. Most people like to salt potatoes for the improved taste, but many chefs know that salting a potato can also elevate or even ruin its texture, depending on how you use it. For example, boiling potatoes in saltwater will soften them. Because the potatoes gravitate toward saltier water through osmosis, the salt eats away at the potato.
Adding salt to your potato-making process will improve the texture of French fries, too. Before you fry the potatoes, soak them in salt water for a few hours. The salt will pull out potato starch, and result in crunchier French fries. Yum. Who’s hungry? I could definitely go for some crunchy fries right about now.
Get Rid of Burnt Oven Smell
I don’t know why, but lately, I’ve been forgetting to turn off the oven or leaving pots on the stove way too long. And the kitchen turns into a smoke-filled mess, and that smell takes forever to leave! Have you ever turned your oven on only to smell that burnt food odor? Getting rid of that smell is a lot simpler than it may seem, and you don’t need to use any cleaning chemicals.
To clean your burnt oven, mix together 1/8 cup of salt with 1/8 cup of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of dishwasher soap. Apply it to your oven let it sit for about 20 minutes, then wipe it off.
If you spill anything in your oven, just cover it with a lot of salt while the oven is still warm. Then, once it cools down, scrub the stuff away. For a more pleasant odor, put some cinnamon along with the salt.
Deodorize Your Fridge
Considering how refrigerators are always a bit damp, they’re not so easy to clean. And it makes sense why many people don’t want to use harsh cleaning chemicals in the same area that they store their food. And so yes, salt cleans the inside of your fridge. You need to mix a handful of salt with a gallon of warm water. Soak a sponge in the mix and scrub away.
Unlike store-bought cleaners, saltwater isn’t as abrasive. It’ll remove stains without scratching the enamel. If you want to remove odor along the way, add some lemon juice to the mix. Of course, I think it goes without saying that you should remove all the food before you tackle your fridge cleaning project.
Keep Your Silverware Polished
Because salt is a gentle exfoliator, it doesn’t harm delicate metals like silver and copper. If you want to remove tarnish from silverware, boil some water and put aluminum foil at the bottom. Pour 2 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of baking soda into the boiling water. The silverware shouldn’t be touching. Leave the silverware in for 2 to 5 minutes, then remove and rinse.
The tarnish should then no longer be there. The salt and baking soda produce a chemical reaction called ion exchange (yes, we’re back in science class for a moment), which converts tarnish into silver. The sulfide turns into aluminum sulfide on the foil, which means you won’t have to polish any of the silverware at all.
Similar to the previous hack, salt can help clean copper. Over time, copper tarnishes and stains. If you want a natural method to clean your copper utensils or tools, here’s a hack. Stir a tablespoon of salt into a cup of white vinegar. Soak a cloth into the mixture and that cloth to rub the stain away.
And then if you want to clean an entire copper pot, add the salt-vinegar solution to 3 cups of boiling water that’s bigger than the copper pot you want to clean. Immerse the whole pot or pan into the boiling water and let it boil until all the grime comes off. Once it looks clean enough, let it cool and wash it gently with soap and water.
Purify Wooden Surfaces
Wooden cutting boards are the prettiest of them all, but wood can be problematic because food particles sink into the grooves and the nicks of the cutting board. And with time, they begin to rot and smell. Salt will help keep the life of your wooden cutting board last longer. You can remove those tiny food scraps and brighten the board’s color with salt.
This technique will work best with fine table salt that can get into and exfoliate inside the cuts. What you do is cover the cutting board with salt and rub it with a warm and damp cloth. After thoroughly scrubbing the board, wipe off the leftover salt, and wash it with soapy water. Your cutting board should then look and smell fresher. If it doesn’t, repeat again.
Keep Food from Sticking to Your Pan
Not all of our pans are the best quality and smoothly cook our food. Sometimes we fry food, and a lot of it ends up sticking the pan. And it sucks! So this is a hack for us. Salt adds a rough layer which prevents food from sticking to the pan. After you wash a griddle or waffle iron, for example, you can sprinkle it with salt.
Add the salt to an already warm pan before using, and then simply dust it off. Your next meal won’t stick to the pan, and your nerves will remain calm. But if it’s too late and you see that your food is already clinging, you can remove the stuck food with salt. Sprinkle salt on it and rub it with a damp cloth. Then wash the pan or dish as usual.
Clean Delicate Wicker
Here’s a hack for wicker that I personally haven’t seen in many hack lists. Wicker baskets, for one, are a wicker product that isn’t easy to clean at all. If you have one at home, you’ve probably looked at it and wondered how on earth are you supposed to clean that? Not only are these baskets fragile, but they also have many grooves that are just too hard to workaround.
So clean them with salt to prevent the wicker from yellowing. You can clean the wicker by scrubbing it with a stiff brush that has been soaked in warm saltwater. To get in those grooves, clean the wicker basket with dry salt. Pour some salt into a big bag and place the basket into it. Shake it around and let the salt remove dust or debris.
Keep Your Broom Happy
Keeping my broom happy is something that I admit I’ve never even thought of before. I have, however, noticed that my broom is looking pretty sad lately. So I am definitely going to try this hack this weekend. If you want your broom to last longer, extend its life with saltwater. For this hack to work, you need to do it before you plan on using the broom. Otherwise, you’re going to have soggy dust on your broom.
Start by filling a bucket with hot water. Add about 1/2 cup of salt or even 1 cup, depending on how big your bucket is. Dip the brush of the broom into the water and leave it there for 20 minutes. Remove it and let it dry before you start sweeping.
Get Rid Of Mineral Deposits in Fish Tanks
Fish tanks are beautiful and all, but they can be a hassle due to all the maintenance involved. If you happen to have a fish tank in your house, here’s a hack that will save you some time and money. And a headache.
Fish tanks leave residue from mineral deposits that can be hard to clean off. But, you can use salt and vinegar to rub the minerals off. Mix the two together (similar to the brass cleaning solution) and paste it onto your fish tank. Rub it with a soft scrubbing pad.
Rinse the tank fully before you bring the fish in, especially if it’s a freshwater fish tank. If it’s a saltwater tank, you’re going to want to rinse it thoroughly to get all the traces of vinegar out. Don’t forget to empty your fish tank before doing this!
Get Rid Of Chimney Soot
We’ve already gone over what you need to do with salt to put out a grease fire. But salt is also useful in fireplaces when it comes to riding it of soot. You can burn salt to loosen the soot inside your chimney. If you happen to own a brick fireplace, you might want to use table salt specifically to remove the soot stains.
After you already have a nice and warm fire going, feed the flames with a few tablespoons of salt. You’ll see how the fire will then burn with gorgeous yellow flames. After safely putting out the fire, you can go ahead and clean the soot. This will improve not only the airflow but the fire safety as well.
Get Rid Of Rust
Rust is one of those annoying things that show up and infect many things, from cars to lawnmowers, to razors. You can go ahead and scrub the rust off whatever it is you have that’s rusty with a mixture of salt and lemon juice. Start by squeezing 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and stir in 6 tablespoons of salt.
Apply the salty lemon paste to the rusted surface and rub it in a circular motion. Once you’re done, rinse the area thoroughly. You can also use a different method, which involves rubbing salt over the rusted area and squeezing the lemon juice over it. Leave the item for 2 to 3 hours. Then, scrub it with steel wool or a scourer.
Get Rid of Condensation Rings
A coffee table’s worst nightmare is those condensation rings that always show up after a hot drink was placed on it. If you put a hot drink or dish on a table, you’ll often get a whitish residue left behind on the table. Those are condensation rings, and cleaning them off your wooden table can be tricky. Condensation and coffee rings will disappear with a certain salt mixture.
Sprinkle some salt over the condensation ring and let it sit for a couple of minutes. The salt will soak up all the moisture, making it easier to wipe clean afterward. Then you can dip a rag or a sponge in light cooking oil and gently massage the ring away. Dry it off with a cloth and see how it won’t even harm the wood.
Kill Pesky Weeds
Do you keep finding weeds that peek through the cracks of your brick or concrete outdoor tiling? These weeds are difficult to uproot like any other normal weeds. Well, at this point, you’re going to assume that salt is going to help you with weeds, too. And yes, you are correct.
Because salt tends to soak up moisture, it can also kill plants by dehydrating the soil as well as their roots. Pour salt in between those cracks where the weeds are coming up. Then, pour some hot water over them, and this should kill the weeds quickly.
If you want to get rid of poison ivy, mix 3 pounds of sea salt with 1 gallon of soapy water. Spray the leaves and the stem, and the ivy should wilt within a matter of days.
Melt Slippery Ice
Salt causes a “freezing point depression” in water. That means that the salt lowers the freezing point, and as a result, it also lowers the melting point of snow and ice. If you’re struggling with scary ice or lots of snow on your car, your driveway, or your porch, and you’re worried about people slipping and falling down, then it’s time to whip out the salt.
Dust the icy area with rock salt. It’ll prevent the ice from sticking to the pavement and will help you remove it more easily. Be careful on lawns, though, because it will kill your plants. To stop ice from sticking to your windshields, wash the car with lukewarm saltwater.
I hope you enjoyed all these salt hacks!